Take Two®

News and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by A Martínez

The Styled Side: The growing market for plus-sized women

by Take Two®

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Sports Illustrated cover model Ashley Graham poses at the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2016 - NYC VIP press event on February 16, 2016 in New York City. Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated

For larger women, clothes are out there but they're not so great. 

That's what they have to say about offerings in the fashion world: 74 percent of plus-sized women say they are "frustrated" with shopping, and 65 percent said they felt "excluded."

By contrast, there are some small cultural movements making these women more visible.

Ashley Graham, a plus-sized model, recently landed a spot in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue

"It's a sign that the tipping point has been reached," says Michelle Dalton Tyree from Fashion Trends Daily.  "Plus-size models and fashion are gaining acceptance in the fashion community."

The problem is that acceptance has not kept up with demand.

"The industry isn't known for being inclusive, and plus-size models haven't been considered 'aspirational,'" says Tyree. "Also, designers have long said that creating plus-sizing would be a hit on their bottom line because they would have to create new patterns and samples."

There are a growing number of options, some powered by social media stars.

  • Gabi Gregg, the founder of Gabifresh, has been doing incredibly successful swimsuit collaborations with Swimsuits For All for a few seasons. She just launched the 2016 collection earlier this year.
  • Hey Gorgeous, started by blogger Aimee Cheshire, is an online multi-brand retailer carrying plus-size lines from size 10-26. Some of the labels they carry include: 17 Sundays, Single, Lauren Moshi, ABS by Allen Schwartz and more.
  • Retailers such San Francisco-based Modcloth has its own dedicated section for plus-sized women.
  • ASOS Plus is a line from the hugely popular Brit-based retailer ASOS that ships to the U.S.
  • Beth Ditto from the band The Gossip launched her own line in February.

Nearly all these lines are available online only, however, and Tyree says a lack of selection from brick-and-mortar stores is a problem for the fashion industry.

"This market really so ripe for the picking and I'm shocked that we haven't seen more from retailers."


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